After four years of building a business out of her retrofitted garage, Island Treats owner Ann Peterson has finally moved into a storefront on the Island.
Island Treats relocated to a small strip mall along Southeast 27th Street with neighbors including the soon-to-be opened Barrels Wine Bar, an art gallery and nearby restaurants. The new 750-square-foot kitchen and storefront nearly triples the businesses size and allows Peterson to sell directly to customers.
“Feels great, I get to actually meet the people that have been buying our product for the last four years,” Peterson said standing behind the brightly colored counter.
When Island Treats was located at Peterson’s house, it was limited to selling at farmers markets and shipping candy across the island and beyond. Now customers can walk in, pick out a treat and buy it on the spot or get goods made to order.
Along with a selection of their signature goods — including chocolate pretzel bites, salted caramels and toffee — the store now offers shortbread, s’mores, raspberry caramels and more baked goods in addition to seasonal offerings. A larger space and a full seven-day schedule means Peterson added more employees for a total of 10.
Finding commercial space on the island can be a challenge, one which the owners of Barrels wine bar next door also experienced before they found their new location. Peterson hopes to provide treats and even party supplies as more residents move to the business district of Mercer Island.
Peterson officially started her hand-dipped treats business in November 2013 and quickly landed spots for her confections at local bookstores and coffee shops. The majority of her business comes from islanders but during the holidays she ships across the country.
Peterson has three grown children and a background in catering, and told the Reporter in a 2015 interview that the businesses provided an outlet for her once they moved out of the house.
“My kids were wondering what I was going to do when I was an empty nester,” she said in 2015. “For years I was the tennis mom, the water polo mom.”
Peterson made her first batch of toffee more than 20 years ago from a friend’s family recipe. Island Treats currently uses local butter and cream, Guittard chocolate, San Juan Island sea salt and 2 Bar Bourbon from Seattle in various recipes.